Update: Click here for the latest update (April 2) from Pastor Chad regarding coronavirus and its impact on ministry at WPC.

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The LORD is My Portion

 

Dear Westminster Family & Friends,

This past Lord’s Day was certainly a strange one, wasn’t it?  Some of us were able to gather with others from the church and have worship from home.  Others of us worshipped alone as a family or maybe even by yourself.  I must say that our hearts were blessed as we worshipped together in our home with friends.  We enjoyed a meal together and experienced some wonderful fellowship throughout the day, but it also made me long to be with the rest of you.  I’m certainly thankful for technology and especially a platform like Zoom.  It was wonderful to see and hear from so many of you during the Sunday School hour.  However, as helpful as these tools are, nothing compares with the in-person gathering of the saints for Lord’s Day worship.  I hope and pray that once we are all able to gather together again as a church family that we will each have an even greater appreciation for and love for the public worship of God.

If you’re anything like me then you’ve been wrestling with many of the following emotions and conditions in the last week: confusion, frustration, anxiety, anger, apathy, weariness, exhaustion, fear, and many more besides.

  • Confusion: what’s the truth about this virus and how does it impact me?
  • Frustration: why is everything out of stock at the grocery store?
  • Anxiety: you’ve watched the value of your stock investments plummet in the last two weeks.
  • Anger: why can’t we fix this and get back to normal?
  • Apathy: I don’t care anymore and can’t be bothered.
  • Weariness: if I hear the word “coronavirus” one more time I’m going to go insane.
  • Exhaustion: where can I go to get a break from all this coronavirus coverage…it’s everywhere and it’s draining the life out of me.
  • Fear: what will happen if I contract the virus? How many people might I infect before I even know I have it?

Jeremiah wrestled with those kinds of feelings as well.  When Jerusalem was under siege and being torn apart by the Babylonian army, Jeremiah experienced severe afflictions along with the rest of God’s people left in Jerusalem.  Listen to how he describes his experience in Lamentations 3:16-18: “He (Yahweh) has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the LORD.’”  Jeremiah’s situation was bleak.  It was far worse than what we find ourselves in now.  I don’t say that to minimize our current situation or the painful realities that many people are dealing with as they suffer from this virus.  But Jeremiah, along with the rest of God’s covenant people, was experiencing the fulfillment of God’s word of judgment upon Judah for their unfaithfulness. 

What is remarkable is that it is in the midst of this song of lament that one of the most precious promises of Scripture emerges.  On the heels of declaring that his hope has perished he writes these words: “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him’” (Lamentations 3:21-24).  Friends, this is our hope in the midst of the darkness: God’s steadfast love, his covenant-keeping love, never ceases.  The rivers of his mercy never run dry.  His love never fails.  He is absolutely faithful.  Do you believe that?  Do you have the LORD for your portion?  If you were to lose everything else in this world but you still had the LORD, do you trust that he would be enough for you?  Oh he is dear friends!  He is enough!  He is your portion.  He has given you everything in giving himself to you.  Do you see how rich you are?  How blessed you are?  God has given himself to you in the person of his Son.  He has lavished his love upon you in Jesus Christ and he has filled you with his Holy Spirit.  Your heavenly Father loves you, cares for you, provides for you, and protects you.  So when you are tempted to despair, anger, frustration, or worry in the midst of your present circumstances, remember that you have a blessed Savior who loves you and gave himself for you. 

Did you know that it was that very truth that led to the conversion of Charles Wesley?  Yesterday afternoon I was reading the biography of George Whitfield and the author was recounting the conversion of Charles and John Wesley.  Charles had attended a Bible study where another man was reading from Martin Luther’s commentary on Galatians.  He heard these words from Galatians 2:20: “And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  As those words echoed in his mind they quickly penetrated his heart.  He wrote a hymn shortly after his conversion and many scholars believe that it was these words he penned: And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood? Died he for me, who caused his pain? For me, who him to death pursued? Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Dear Christian, Jesus Christ loves you and gave himself up for you.  Don’t you think that he will support and sustain you through the midst of this current trial?    Let us fix our eyes on him again and declare with Jeremiah and Paul: The Lord Jesus, who loved me and gave himself for me, is my portion, therefore I will hope in him. 

Your Pastor & Friend,

Chad Watkins